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Lechon

Photo: Jen Causey; Styling: Lindsey Lower, Rishon Hanners

Active time 1 hr
Marinate time 8 hrs
Bake time 5 hrs
Total time 14 hrs
Yield

Serves 12

A traditional pork dish from Spain, lechón is a suckling pig that's roasted. The pig is the star here, so make sure you properly source it. This home adaptation of a classic pig roast offers all the flavors you want in any pork product but is spiked with the delicious citrus-herbiness of the mojo. You can make the mojo up to 3 days ahead. You'll need an injection needle which can be found in the BBQ section of grocery stores.

Ingredients

  • 20 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch cilantro, trimmed
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups fresh orange juice (about 8 oranges)
  • 4 cups fresh lime juice (about 10 limes)
  • 1 (15- to 18-lb.) whole suckling pig

How to Make It

  1.  Place garlic, cilantro, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, and 1/2 cup of the oil in a blender. Slowly add orange and lime juice, and pulse until smooth, 10 to 12 times. Remove 1 cup marinade mixture, and reserve for later use.

  2.  Place pig in a container that is large enough to accommodate its size. Thoroughly coat with remaining marinade mixture, rubbing all over pig. Cover container, and chill 8 to 24 hours, basting occasionally.

  3.  Preheat oven to 275°F. Place a wire rack in a large, aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Remove pig from marinade, and place on rack, discarding marinade.

  4.  Inject pig all over with reserved 1 cup marinade mixture, and rub with remaining 1 cup oil. Roast pig in preheated oven until a meat thermometer inserted into the shoulder joint close to the head registers 160°F, about 4 hours, rotating pan, if necessary. Increase oven temperature to 425°F, and roast until skin is golden brown and crispy, about 1 hour. Let rest 20 minutes. Serve immediately.